By Robert Husseman • Sports Editor • 

Linfield to face Whitworth in NCAA Division III playoff matchup

Linfield football will stay in McMinnville for much of the NCAA Division III playoffs.

The Wildcats will host Northwest Conference foe Whitworth Saturday, Nov. 21, at noon in the first round of the D-III playoffs. The winner of the game will face the winner of SUNY-Cortland and Salisbury, also scheduled for Nov. 21.

Linfield earned the No. 2 ranking in the D-III West Region by the NCAA, behind only St. Thomas (Minnesota). The Tommies, Mount Union and Wisconsin-Oshkosh are the top seeds in the other three quadrants of the bracket.

The Wildcats learned of their playoff fate less than 24 hours after Kennedy Johnson's legs and Sam Riddle's right arm lifted Linfield to a 38-10 victory over Pacific Lutheran Saturday afternoon in Puyallup, Washington.

Having already clinched the NWC championship (the Wildcats have claimed at least a share of the last seven) and an NCAA Division III playoff berth, Linfield had little at stake at Sparks Stadium. Nevertheless, Johnson returned punts for touchdowns of 58 and 53 yards and Riddle completed 13 of 23 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns, running for a third on a 15-yard keeper. (Riddle also threw two interceptions.)

Spencer Payne rushed for a game-high 105 yards on 20 carries, and Tavon Willis gained 43 yards on eight carries. Eric Igbinoba caught three passes for 56 yards, including a 30-yard receiving touchdown.

The Wildcats outgained Pacific Lutheran (2-7, 2-5 NWC) 339-253 for the game and forced four turnovers. The Lutes' lone touchdown of the game came on a wide receiver pass, as Ben Welch hit D.J. Winter for a 30-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Linfield will learn its playoff fate Sunday at 3 p.m. Pacific Standard Time when the NCAA Division III selection show commences.

George Fox 21, Willamette 14

NEWBERG -- John Shaffer had rushing touchdowns of 22 and 1 yards and the Bruins forced six turnovers -- four in the third quarter alone -- in holding off the Bearcats Saturday afternoon at Stoffer Family Stadium.

Grant Schroeder threw for 105 yards (15-of-25) and parlayed an improvised run into a 22-yard touchdown on George Fox's opening drive of the third quarter. Shaffer finished with 74 rushing yards and 21 receiving yards, and Brad Lander caught five passes for 32 yards as the Bruins' leading receiver.

Willamette (2-7, 2-5 NWC) cut into its 21-14 deficit in the second half with a pair of rushing touchdowns by Jacob Swilley (18 carries, 81 yards). GFU stopped the Bearcats on their next two possessions with turnovers on downs, including a failed 4th-and-8 conversion at the George Fox 10-yard line.

Defensive back Jesse Bresser racked up 16 tackles for the Bruins, including two for loss. Caylen Clardy, Caleb Dalzell, Rudy Hughes and Adrian Bonner each intercepted passes for George Fox.

The Bruins conclude their second season of football since the reinstatement of their football program with a 4-6 overall record (2-5 NWC).

Prep Football

Perrydale 42, Wallowa 36

WALLOWA -- The No. 6-seeded Pirates upset the No. 3-seeded Cougars in the OSAA Class 1A football state quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Wallowa High School.

Perrydale (10-0) will stay home for its 1A semifinal game after No. 7 Dufur upset No. 2 Yoncalla, 74-72, on Saturday afternoon. The date and time for the Perrydale-Dufur game is to be determined.


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